Keto diet, ketones, ketosis…All these topics are gaining extreme popularity these days. What is ketosis? Is it normal? Or is it harmful to the body? What if ketosis sustains for a longer period of time? Signs and Symptoms of Ketosis? How to know if you are in Ketosis? What is keto flu and what are the remedies for keto flu? Find answers to all your questions in our latest article.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a condition where the body burns fat as fuel to produce energy. This happens when the body is deprived of carbohydrates to provide energy. During fat, breakdown ketones are produced as a byproduct. These ketones are used by the body as fuel. With a keto weight loss diet, the body will undergo ketosis.
Facts regarding ketosis:
- With a rise in ketone levels in the blood, the acidity of the blood increases. This can prove to be fatal.
- Ketones that are not used by the body are excreted via urine.
- People with type 1 diabetes are more prone to have a higher level of ketones which leads to ketoacidosis. Emergency medical treatment is required to avoid or treat diabetic coma in such patients.
- Originally keto diet was used to treat epilepsy where studies proved that ketones reduced the number of epilepsy attacks.
How does Ketosis help in weight loss?
- Controls Appetite: With a high level of ketones in the body, the hunger hormone ghrelin suppresses. Thus, people do not feel hungry all the time. This is the principle that works in the keto diet for weight loss.
- Weight loss: With suppressed appetite, the total calories consumed reduce. With calorie restriction, people experience weight loss. Also more protein and fat in diet keep you full for a longer period of time, thus reducing binge eating in the next meal.
- Maintaining blood glucose levels: Being in ketosis automatically implies less intake of carbohydrates, which in turn controls the insulin response. With blood glucose and insulin in tune, the blood glucose levels do not spike up.
- Improved athletic performance: Ketones during ketosis provide a very long-lasting fuel supply. This is required during sustained exercise in the athletes.
- Seizure management: As we all know ketogenic diet and ketones in the body reduce the occurrence of seizures in kids as well as adults.
- Other benefits: Ketosis also helps in reducing the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. It also helps to reverse PCOS and slows down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. But there is not enough evidence supporting these benefits.
Keto diet plan for Weight loss:
Signs and Symptoms of Ketosis:
- Dry mouth or a metallic taste in the mouth
- Increased thirst and frequent urination
- Keto or fruity breath
- Initial fatigue, followed by an increase in energy
- Decrease in appetite and food intake
How can you measure ketones in the body?
Ketone levels between 0.5 and 3 mmol/L are considered nutritional ketosis found during keto diets. You can also measure ketones using blood monitors, breath analyzers, and urine testing strips.
How does your body react to high ketone levels?
With a shift from carbohydrates to fats as the main source of fuel your body might take time to accept it. In a few days of starting the keto diet, your body sets into ketosis. You might feel lethargic, low, tired, constant mild headache, difficulty in focusing. This is known as keto flu.
What is Keto flu?
Is it really flu? Is it contagious or dangerous? No, it is not exactly the flu or is not contagious. The symptoms of ketosis are referred to as keto flu. This is a temporary state. You may experience keto flu in the initial days of following a keto diet. Soon once the body gets used to ketosis, you feel more energetic than before. With a little more effort, you can handle keto flu very efficiently.
It is best to concentrate more on the calories required in each week of the keto diet. Do not increase or decrease the amount of food as per your hunger. Take proper guidance from an expert before you reduce or increase your food intake.
With keto flu, you will not feel hungry. Yet do not skip the calories recommended to you. In case of excess hunger, you can sip zero-calorie fluids or consume eggs in between the meals. But this has to be discussed and well planned with your diet expert.
Symptoms of keto flu:
- Fatigue and dizziness
- Irritability and lack of motivation
- Difficulty in focusing
- Sugar cravings
- Muscle cramps
Keto flu is very subjective to an individual. Some might accept ketosis well and some might develop severe keto flu symptoms.
Remedies to keep keto flu in control:
- Increase salt and water intake: The body excretes the extra unused ketones via urine. Thus, you may experience frequent urination leading to dehydration. Dehydration is the main cause of headaches, nausea and dizziness. Just have a glass of water with half teaspoon salt to alleviate the symptoms of keto flu. There is a minimum requirement of 3 litres of water with a keto diet.
- Concentrate on Fat quantity: With carb restriction the body will go into starvation. Thus, compensating carbs with fats is the best option. Enough fats prevent hunger throughout the day yet have sufficient energy to carry out daily activities.
- Go Slow: Slowly and gradually restrict your carb intake before you start keto diet. Start with moderate low carb diet and then switch to a proper keto diet. It will slow down the weight loss process but you will overcome the keto flu symptoms and get rid of it.
- Monitor your physical activity: Initially with low energy you will have to restrict your daily workout. If you overdo the physical activity, it will worsen the keto flu symptoms. The body is as it adjusting with the utilization of the fuel source from carbs to fats. With heavy workouts the body will have additional burden to overcome. Gradually increase the workout intensity as per your body allows.
- Consume calories as per your requirement – not less not more: Each individual will react in his own way with keto diet. Some might feel hungrier than before, some might feel fine. Some might experience keto flu, some might not.
Half knowledge of anything is quite dangerous than ignorance. When you want to start with a new experiment for your body know it all. Take expert advice and understand what your body needs. Each individual is different, their needs are different. Also, a sheer determination with correct guidance will always give desired results.
I am about to start modifying my diet and your blog really brings positivism to this plan.
RD, Payal Banka (Registered Dietitian)
Im glad, you find my work helpful.